The Minister of State for Works, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protect all materials used during the June 21 governorship election in Ekiti State to prevent them from being tampered with.
Adeyeye, who accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of desperately plotting to rubbish the election results by replacing the used ballot papers with those already printed in China, said: "The Ekiti election has restored INEC credibility and the electoral commission must guard jealously, all materials used for the election."
The minister was reacting to the order granted by election petition tribunal hearing the case filed by APC against the victory of Mr. Ayodele Fayose in the June 21 governorship election which empowered the party to inspect all materials used for the conduct of the poll.
In a release issued in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Adeyeye described the manipulation of used electoral materials as APC stock-in-trade, saying the party did the same in 2011.
But the APC Chairman in the state, Chief Jide Awe, had while filing the suit disclosed that the action taken by the party should not been misinterpreted for desperation.
Awe said the step was taken to prove the possibility of using photo chromic and thermo chromic technology to rig election, adding that the APC’s efforts would help strengthen democracy and instill credibility in the electoral process.
"The APC people are already boasting of getting the election results voided and their confidence is as a result of nothing other than the assurance that election materials in INEC custody will be tampered with.
“This is moreso that the APC people are not new to what is known as ‘ibo lehin ibo’ (voting after voting), as they did in 2011 when they paid four staff of INEC to doctor materials used in Ekiti East Constituency 2 House of Assembly election in 2011.
"The four INEC staff, Ajayi Gbenga, Ojo Oluwafemi, Oni Babajide and Olusola Oladapo were arrested and subsequently arraigned in an Ado Ekiti Magistrate Court."
on eight count charge of alleged tampering with electoral materials used for the House of Assembly election in April.
“The prime suspect, Olusola Oladapo, an INEC Electoral Officer (EO) collected N180,000 from the ACN candidate in the election. He allegedly gave N50, 000 each to Ajayi Gbenga and Oni Babajide while Ojo Oluwafemi got N30,000.
"Therefore, if we are getting information that APC leaders have perfected plot to replace ballot papers in INEC’s custody with fresh ones, using unscrupulous INEC officials, we cannot not keep silent because it happened before and it must not be allowed to happen again," Adeyeye said.